Women have an equal right to negotiate the terms of peace and to be free from personal violence.

Violence against women is a violation of women’s human rights. It’s also a global pandemic. One in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. No country is immune. Violence against women is a severe barrier to women’s access of their rights across every area of life.

In areas affected by armed conflict, rates of violence against women are usually elevated. The region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea is recovering from a long civil war. When more than 1,000 men in Bougainville were asked if they had ever raped a woman, 62% said yes. In Burma, our program partners have documented the regular use of sexual violence by the military as a purposeful weapon of oppression.

Yet although women around the world have firsthand experience of violence and conflict, women are rarely at the table in discussions about peace-building and human security. No women have acted as chief mediators in United Nations peace talks over the past two decades. National defence strategies, largely developed without women’s equal participation, ignore the human security dimensions of climate change, food security, forced migration and employment.

IWDA supports the women who work on the front lines defending other women in the face of extreme violence. We advance women’s understanding of their rights and support safe houses and legal advocacy. In addition to standing up for women’s safety, IWDA promotes the full participation of women in conflict resolution and peace-building. We take part in regional and international networks, coalitions and action plans including the International Consortium for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the Civil Society Coalition for Women, Peace and Security. Together we create space for women’s voices to be heard and amplify these through networking, advocacy and research.

IWDA’s partnerships promote women’s right to safety and security across the Asia Pacific region.


IWDA Partner Workshop. Photo: Angela Wylie
IWDA Partner Workshop. Photo: Angela Wylie

Here are a few of our recent achievements


people in Papua New Guinea attended forums on preventing family and sexual violence


Papua New Guinean women received family and sexual violence counselling


women in Timor-Leste accessed legal support in cases of gender-based violence

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